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Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2007

Prescription drug abuse among teens increases

February 15, 2007

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— Junior's been helping himself to Mother's little helper.

That's the conclusion of a report released Wednesday by White House drug czar John Walters that found while U.S. teenagers' use of marijuana is declining, their abuse of prescription drugs is holding steady or in some cases increasing.

According to an analysis of national surveys prepared by Walters' office, 2.1 million teens abused prescription drugs in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available.

While their use of marijuana declined from 30.1 percent to 25.8 percent from 2002 to 2005, use of OxyContin, a painkiller, increased from 2.7 percent to 3.5 percent over the same period. Use of Vicodin, another painkiller, increased slightly from 6 percent to 6.3 percent.

Teens are also abusing stimulants like Adderall and anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax because they are readily available and perceived as safer than street drugs, Walters said.

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